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Dear Santa-

Please excuse the late letter- did Christmas sneak up on you and the elves the way it did me? Anyway…I hope that you are having an easy time making all those presents.

Of course I want the usual things for Christmas- you know world peace, health and happiness to all my family, friends, and favorite bloggerfriends. Oh and new underwear, an iTunes gift card, an amazon gift certificate and whatever else you see fit to shove in my stocking (I hope the bubble bath doesn’t leak all over the harth this year- that was a sticky mess).

However can I ask for one two three more things for Christmas this year? I think I have been a good enough girl- where I can give you one or three special requests (in order of importance of course):

First and foremost: Please do your best to give Stewart Haas racing a good inaugral 2009 season.  Be especially gracious to Tony (that would be the #14 car) but also feel free to sprinkle some of that magic onto the Ryan Newman team as well (the #39 car).  I would love for Stewart Haas racing to come out of the box a winning team- so a good showing at the Daytona 500 in February would be a great start (but please don’t let the year fall off dramatically like poor Ryan’s team did this year after his Daytona win).

Secondly a second sponsor for the #39 team would be a good thing.  Hell if I had the money I would sponsor him. But I don’t have these kind of funds Santa…and in all actuality who would want to see my name on the hood of a car. It’s not like I have an exciting company or product- lets face it Santa there is NOTHING innovating about me…but I am sure you will think of SOMETHING.

And finally, I would love a Stewart-Haas racing sticker. Just a simple smallish sticker of the new teal colored (that is teal isn’t it?) logo would be perfect. I need something for the back window of my car, not only so I can show my colors as a Stewart-Haas fan, but so that I can pick my car out in a parking lot. There are more than one Silver HHR in the area and I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to get into someone else’s car.  Somehow my 20 sticker disappeared in late October leaving just a little ring of clean window where a sticker had once been.

I wanted to give you this letter in person, however, after about 20 minutes in the mall on both Saturday and Sunday, I wanted to be put out of my misery. There really is not any thing worth those kind of crowds…especially since YOU bring all the Christmas magic anyway.

I will leave extra cookies for the reindeer as always. And maybe some chex mix just to mix things up.

Love, Amy M., Marina, CA

PS. If you are really at a loss for something ELSE to get me this year- I wouldn’t cry if I found one of THESE under the tree.

There is this family who loves my Mom. She came into contact with them through her job as an grammar school librarian, health aide and teachers aide (she has done them all at some point). My mom lives in close proximity to the school and walks to work on most days so its not odd for students and such to know where she lives.  Anyway to make a long story short…because of our Grizwald like reputation for decorating for Christmas- this one family- we will call them the Andersons- come by and carol at our house every year. Its gone on for at least five years now.  One night close to Christmas we will hear a knock on the door and people will be standing on our stoop singing to us.

This year was no different, with the exception that we happened to be babysitting (we as in my parents and me) my nephew who turns 9 months old tomorrow. We had a pretty good idea who was at the door when we heard the knock so I grabbed him out of the laundry basket (he LOVES playing in the laundry basket) while my Mom went and opened the door.  The whole family again stood on our stoop (and by whole family I mean just that…a mom, dad, and three children…two of which are teenagers- one might even been old enough to be in college now- I am not sure) and began to sing.  (They are good singers too let me tell you).  Usually they sing us “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” but this year we got TWO songs.  My focus wasn’t on WHAT they were singer…but on MXM, my nephew. I wish I had taken a picture of his expression. It was clearly a “WHAT THE?” kind of expression.  He was captivated by them- yet unsure. He was like what is this? People don’t come to my door and sing. He just looked at us with an awe like expression.  It was pretty much the same look he had on his face as I carried him around Toys R Us this past Sunday while my brother picked up some last minute items only with out the “Oooh ooooh” noises that he makes when he wants to touch or hold something. Its a face that he makes where he looks like he is making an O with his mouth. Its cute and I have been trying to capture that face but he has wised up to cameras…and the minute he sees someone point a camera at him- he smiles.

This past weekend, the weekend before Christmas, found me at the local mall which was a veritable zoo. It then found me at the Target across the street from the mall, which was also a zoo.  My shopping and wrapping is all but done but I was there with my Mom.  My dad does not like her to go shopping alone for some unknown reason. But he also did not want to go anywhere NEAR the mall or Target the weekend before Christmas.

The stores were crowded and the lines were long but we survived.  We were leaving Target and were behind a little Silver Rav4 who had the blinker on. Little Rav4 was waiting for a spot to open up in the block. He spotted the leaving party and put his blinker on to signal his intention to take the spot. In our area, this is proper ettiquete for calling dibs on a spot that has not opened up quite yet.  I mean the Little Rav might as well as gotten out of the car and licked the parking spot. So, Little Rav waiting very patiently for the parent to wrangle the children in to car and booster seats and put the packages in the back of the car. I sat behind said little Rav chatting with my mother about what she had just purchased at Target. Finally the parked car pulled out of the spot that Little Rav claimed. And just as Little Rav was about to pull into the newly opened spot a small silver car turned left in front of Little Rav, swooping in and stealing the spot.  I was flabbergasted (but not really).  Little Rav pulled forward and the female passenger leaned out the window and flipped the bird to the spot stealer.  And, I admit it, I cheered for the little Rav. Because if ANYONE deserved to be flipped off the weekend before Christmas it was the spot stealer.

The reason I was not surprised by the spot stealer’s actions was that it reminded me of the time I went to a mall in San Jose with my friend the weekend before Christmas (back when I too drove a little Rav). Bigger City, bigger mall, sixteen gazillion more people.  We were driving up and down the isles of the parking lot looking for a place to park when ALAS…I spotted a mother just arriving at her car.  I put my signal on and patiently waited as she added the packages to the truck, the children to the car seats, folded up the stroller, etc.  This mall has very narrow isles in the parking lot so they are all one way. This of course held up traffic behind me- but its what you had to do. We were all driving around – choo-choo train style looking for open spots.  Well- except apparently for the guy behind me. He honked at me several times (mind you my blinker was on-indicating I was waiting for the spot). I just sat there chatting with my friend and waited for the lady…occasionally looking in the rear view at the creep honking. Well as the woman was finishing up buckling her children into the car, the guy got out of his car and started to yell at me through the window.  I just said- it will just be a minute- she is almost done. (I was very polite).  He then said I should scoot over then so he could get by…and which point I looked at him and said…”Um where would you like me to scoot? There is NO ROOM for two cars.” At which point he yelled some expletives…and then hit the drivers side window hard enough to rock the entire Rav (they are pretty light). I was surprised that he didn’t break the window or at least knock it off the track but it did not.  Luckily as soon as his hand hit the window to my car, a man in the car behind his car got out of the car and told him, in no uncertain terms, to get in his car and stay in his car…and to shut the f up while he was at it.  The part that was surreal about my experience with the guy who pounded on my window? Is the aggressor was an older, very conservatively dressed man. He did NOT look like someone who would go postal while waiting three minutes in a parking lot.  I wanted to thank the man in the car behind the jerk who was behind me.  However by the time I had parked and gotten out- he was gone…no doubt looking for a spot of his own.

**Yes the title is sarcasm. Hope you weren’t expecting a happy story. If you were…um…sorry.

Now where I live is fairly mild weatherwise. I mean, sure I bitch about it being cold…but really it’s rarely below freezing here- ever. And we never have to deal with that evil S-word (SNOW) because we are at 32 feet above sea level and it just doesn’t happen here (in the hills around us very rarely…and never here at least not in my 30-something years).

Earlier this week it hailed like all get out for about 10-15 minutes. It was tiny dried pea sized hail…but there were some major accidents on the highway because people drive like idiots on the highway.  That same day I went out during my lunch to see the results of a car flipped over in the medium of the highway.

On Friday of this week it had been raining moderately to lightly but had then slowed down to a very light drizzle.  Well there I am trucking along and a car is in the far right lane (three lanes now that his lane has merged onto the road) and the guy TOTALLY loses it right there in front of me. I guess he went around the corner too fast or something but it was pretty violent to watch actually despite the fact that it was single car and really all he did was spin out and I am a NASCAR fan and see much worse, much higher speed wrecks both on TV and in person (ie- Tony Stewart hitting the wall in Las Vegas right in front of our section was pretty damn scary).  However I have seen these cars up close and personal…they are virtual caccoons of protection- way more then our average passenger car. So people …PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Drive slower. Make sure you have snow tires/chains if its snowing. If you get caught in weather you aren’t prepared for (hail or stuff) please for the love of your fellow drivers and your family- pull the heck over and wait it out.

BillyRhythm tagged me to play Shot On The Spot. Basically I take a picture of myself as I am.  So I did. Of course I found out about this on the day I not only wore no makeup (which I don’t wear daily…usually depends on how much time I have in the morning) but on the one day this week I didn’t blowdry my hair because I needed to get gas…so my hair usually does not look this…disheveled…usually its all flat and even and shiny:

That first one came out blurry (dumb camera phone camera!) but I still have a dumb expression on my face. So here is the second one I took. Better pose all around says me.

This is a better one except I forgot to take off my headset. At least I am smiling and don’t look demonic.  I am suppose to tag five more people to play along…but I hate tagging people….so if you play YEY…just leavea comment so I can visit your entry.

First is G’s Holiday 6 MI-5. G says: Hope you all don’t mind but I’m offering up the following six (sorry I couldn’t choose which one to leave out) holiday themed questions).

1.  Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child? Yes until I was about 4 when I looked at my parents and said IS THERE REALLY A SANTA (to which my parents said yes) and then I said “Then why does he shop at Longs?” because someone left a price tag on something. They tried the “Santa ran out of time” bit but I wasn’t falling for that. Then I got the lecture about not spoiling it for my brother…who was the opposite of me and clung to Santa until he was like 9 or 10.

2.  Does your town get decorated at Christmas?  Tell us about the sights!  They put these poinsettia banners on all the down town light poles.  And then there  is the Hospice Tree of Light on top of the Steinbeck center. And then there are some neighborhoods that do it up big with the christmas lights. Ours is one of them.

3.  How many Christmas cards have you receive this year?  How many Christmas cards do you send? So far this year I have received 5 (but I haven’t been to my PO box in a couple days so hopefully there are more there) and I sent out 17. I know this because i had three stamps left over in my book of holiday stamps.

4.  What does your family traditionally eat for Christmas dinner? Barbecued Turkey, mashed potato casserole (which I don’t like) and rolls are always on the table. There is usually some sort of green salad.  Side dishes such as veggies usually change year to year.

5. What is the best Christmas present you have ever gotten? My Orange and Yellow bike when I was a kid.

6. If you could change something about Christmas time, what would it be? Having to work on Christmas Eve (I am low person on the totem pole with only 10 years here) AND BFM living so far away.

And Now…Friday Fill-in #103

1. Said the night wind to the little lamb, who stole all your wool?.
2. The first Noel, the angel did say, hey look-a brand new car.
3. Rushing through the malls , Over the hills and everywhere.
4. It came upon the midnight clear, so we called the cops.
5. It’s returnable so, Let your heart be light.
6. And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing before you swig the tequila.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to buying some last minute presents, tomorrow my plans include standing in line at the post office for an eternity and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

So have I mentioned that I have a small problem with elevators? As in I am not the world’s biggest elevator fan? Now I won’t go OUT OF MY WAY to avoid them…but I if its a short hike up a couple flights of stairs I will usually take the stairs.  Its because I have a fear of being stuck in an elevator.

Well right now I have a small yet adequately embarrassing story to share with you.  Earlier this week I had quite the load of stuff to take downstairs from my office. I don’t honestly even remember really what it was. But for whatever reason I decided to take the elevator at work. I work on the third floor.  So I get into the elevator and stand smack in the middle of it. The elevators at work are HUGE (there are two of them) and it took me forever to figure out that they were so big because it IS a library and they have those rolling book carts to transport up and down). Anyway…I get in the elevator and I have all this stuff I am juggling. And I face forward as the doors are close behind me and then…well nothing happens. The floor indicator telling me what floor we are on stays at three.  I can literally feel the panic rising in me as I realize this elevator car is going NO WHERE. Am I stuck? Do I hit the emergency button? Do I just hit the door open button? What DO I DO?  DEAR GOD I AM GONNA BE STUCK IN THIS ELEVATOR FOR HOURS AND WILL DIE  IN THIS ELEVATOR.  I feel the panic clutch my stomach and start to try to ram it up my throat.  I am about ready to hit the panic button (which I think turns on the 911 phone in the elevator) when it dawns on me that the reason I am going no where? Is because when I got in the elevator I was so concerned with not dropping anything that I forgot to press my floor button.  Yeah.  My bad there.

So I press my floor button and am swiftly transported to the first floor where I rush out of the lobby and to my car so no one can see my bright red face.

So I told you mine…you tell me yours. What is something embarrassing that you have done recently. Don’t make me retell the story of the time I got stuck in a portapotty at the sports car races at Laguna Seca…

So just because it’s NASCAR’s off season doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it.  Oh contrare- I usually get crabby about the off season because there isn’t enough NASCAR to keep me sated. However this year I have a couple things that I am really enjoying NASCAR wise to keep me busy:

I have been working on helping Karah keep the stewarthaasfan.com site up to date. And I can’t wait for more discussions to break out on the stewarthaasfan.com forums.  I tend to by kinda shy in forum situations (bit one to many times) but I think this forum will be great.

The Nascar Insiders have been keeping me up to date on goings on and my favorite is their ASK THE INSIDERS Wednesday. They even answered one of my questions this last Wednesday…and I am trying to think up another one to ask them for next wednesday.